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Annan urges Clerides, Denktash to work on issues highlighted in Paris talks

Annan urges Clerides, Denktash to work on issues highlighted in Paris talks

Kofi Annan with Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash in Paris
Following meetings today in Paris with the Turkish Cypriot leader and the Greek Cypriot leader, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today’s talks backed up his belief that the gaps dividing the parties could be bridged.

In a statement following separate talks with His Excellency Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, and His Excellency Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and a joint lunch, the Secretary-General said he asked them to go back to Cyprus and work with his Special Advisor, Alvaro de Soto, on the issues that he highlighted to them today. He also asked them to meet with him again in New York on 3 and 4 October.

“I very much hope that the leaders will tackle the matters I discussed with them with a sense of urgency before our next meeting,” Mr. Annan said. “Mr. de Soto will be working with them to help them achieve the requisite progress.”

While noting that he has seen a great deal of speculation in the press, much of it pessimistic, the Secretary-General said that his discussions today confirmed his belief that, though serious differences remained, the elements of a comprehensive settlement that would meet the basic needs of both sides did exist.

“Each side has its own distinct and strongly held perspective, both on the history of the Cyprus problem and on the way forward,” Mr. Annan said. “Nevertheless, I continue to believe that the gaps dividing the parties can be bridged. On some issues, I feel they are quite a bit smaller than when these talks began. There is an opportunity at hand, waiting to be seized.”